Jasmine “Jazzy Mac” McCall is a finance expert, mompreneur, and YouTuber. She creates content showing Millennials and Gen-Z how to build credit, pay off student loans, and create passive income. Jasmine sat down with us to discuss how Black people can take control over their debt and explore various options that may be available should student loan cancellation not be an option in the future.
Chante’ Gamby (CG): Jasmine, could you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you support the black community in dealing with finances and student loan debt?
Jasmine McCall (JM): Absolutely. So, my name is Jasmine McCall also known as Jazzy Mac, and for the last 10 years or so, I’ve been providing educational services around credit, and finances, and of course, student loan debt. I am somebody that graduated college with $100,000 in student loan debt. So that was not something that I was mentally or financially prepared to do. So, thank goodness, I was able to come up with a budget with the help with my husband, and in three years, we got the $100,000 paid off. It wasn’t easy, but it was certainly rewarding to be able to pay off that massive amount of student loan debt. Now I do educational seminars and also create content on YouTube, providing resources and methods for people that need to improve their credit.
CG: That’s great, Jazzy. So, how do you help the black community really deal with the whole issue of credit issues and student loan debt?
JM: I think the biggest issue is lack of education. The black community often lacks the resources and tools to know how to establish credit. And for those of us that might have established credit, we may not know what to do when it’s time to purchase a home or when it’s time to make any large purchase. I think starting with educating people with about how credit works, what the laws are, and what agencies they can actually reach out to, if they are being mistreated, can help.
CG: What are some of the pitfalls that our community tends to fall into when it comes to debt?
JM: I think sometimes we assume that what we do when we’re 18 won’t affect us when we’re 25. I received my first credit card when I was 18. I didn’t know a thing about credit. And so I maxed out the card and I had no clue what that would ultimately do to my credit score. That was the year that I discovered that I was being taken advantage of by a collection agency that was charging something like twice the amount of the balance that I owed. I also learned that this was something that happens in economically disadvantaged communities all the time. This is something that doesn’t typically happen in affluent, predominately white communities. In those communities, families and schools discuss credit and how to read contracts, understanding interest. I just felt like it’s time to do something about it. So, I reached out to organizations like The CFPB, which is the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, and I let them know what this company was doing to me as far as the illegal collection fees that they were charging, was able to get it resolved, and now I help others learn about this.
CG: What advice would you give folks who have student loan debt, but are also maybe thinking about getting a home one day, or just trying to build wealth?
JM: So, the good thing about it is there are many lenders out here. If you are looking to get a home, some lenders don’t even look at your student loan debt. Also, let’s not just wait on somebody to tap us on the shoulder and say, it’s been canceled. You can report predatory lending to agencies like the CFPB and report it to your state attorney general. The more we speak up, the more pressure it places on these student loan servicers to do something about it. I would also encourage students to read the terms of their master promissory notes and those contracts that they sign. Regarding wealth, I look at building wealth as not necessarily how much money I make, it’s how much money I can keep, so I’m thinking of ways that I can relieve myself from paying other things. And one way that people may not be aware of is you can get your employer to help pay your student loans-ask about those perks. Rather than thinking that there is no way out of the debt, think about more creative ways to get the debt paid off.
For daily credit and finance resources, you can connect with Jasmine on Instagram @Iamjazzymac, Youtube-Life with Jazzy Mac, and TikTok-iam_jazzymac.
Chante’ Gamby is a writer passionate about social justice and empowering others to live their healthiest lives. You can follow her on Facebook at Fringefam, Instagram@fringegram, or on her website, www.fringefam.com.